Bella – March 2020

Mon 2nd March

After a week of rain/snow/sleet/wind we have some nice quite, calm, chilly, bright days this week so I’m going to take advantage and play a bit with Bella at Liberty in the roundpen to reinforce the cues I’ve been teaching her online since we got her. The last session in February went quite well but she was reacting to the stick/string and energy more than was necessary so I’ve just got to play as often as possible to give her some consistent persistence.

Today was a very good session, she walked away a couple of times, got sticky feet a few times with no draw but eventually started to realise what I was asking her and was putting quite an effort in to draw to me which was lovely. I did the whole session at liberty, not a rope in sight as I just wanted to try to be a good teacher and figure out some communication between us without resorting to putting her back online (unless I really needed to).

Here’s a few bits of video I did of our session showing me working on DHQ’s to Drawing her Forehand to me and doing it as often as it takes until it starts to become workable cues.


And after our session I opened up the round pen gateways and then asked her to draw to me from quite a distance…..she did and I was over the moon 😉 🙂














And after I gave Bella and Stormy lovely grooms I gave them some treats for being such good babies 🙂










Tue 3rd March

Another beautiful sunny day (bit chilly but ok) so OUT with horses for some F.U.N.

Here’s some pics of my session with Bella, starting at Liberty, she had a bit of a yeehaa which she needed. went online for some balance, she had another yeehaa with some fab canter circling and then back to a lovely Liberty session with a lovely calm connection.


Sun 8th March

Got out with horses again today, on/off showers but we managed to miss most of them for a change. Firstly I played with both horses together, then a wee bit individually which all went well. I then did some S2M with Bella who was saddled and Mark sitting/riding her. I asked him to use his voice (walk on) and left then right heels to ask her to walk on with me using the words ‘walk on’ too and while we were walking it was up to Mark to move her with left and right reins to keep her to my side and to change direction. It went really really well and I was very happy with her walking on and also a wee bit of trot too. Here’s some pics from today…




































Bella walked with me at Liberty while I was following Mark riding Stormy…..great feeling of connection with her today 😉


Mon 9th March

Dodging rain clouds again today but managed to get out for a good grooming session with the horses…they are both moulting their winter coats so they loved it. I had a sore back today but Mark wanted to play with Stormy for a bit SO I gritted my teeth and did some Agility play with Bella too and I’m SO glad I did as she was at her best today…calm, attentive, responsive and happy to play, I think she’s starting to enjoy our play sessions and using her  brain to interact and connect. We did lovely Agility tasks and then a lovely Liberty walk about together which melted my heart <3 😉











































Fri 13th March

Today we did a first with Bella….trying to groom her from the mounting block. To do this I have to have basic moves of FH & HQ’s, moving forward one slow step at a time and familiarisation with me above her. She did really well and it gave me the opportunity to figure out what else she needs to know to be able to do this as well as Stormy…video shows them both at the block 🙂

Mounting Block Grooming w/Bella – Session 1


I also had a nice play session with her with me sitting down (bad back) and she was FaBuLoUs…here’s some pics…



Backing Bella up and Drawing her back for a kiss






Circling…both ways were rhythmic, calm and flexed and the COD was smooth and non-reactive 😉





Sitting down and tossing rope over her head for a rope around spin, just had to stand for a bit to get it over her hq’s…..





…and she did a really nice spin.

I also asked for a sideways around me and after the mounting block grooming realised we need a hq’s towards working to a sideways towards.




To start her with hq’s and sideways towards I go to a fence (hard to see) so that she didn’t just spin around or circle. Taking my time she managed one wee step towards…..



…and I gave her a big reward/treat for trying something new with me.

I then went back to sitting down and asking Bella to trot circles which went very well….she has lots of rhythm, balance, relaxation and flexion on BOTH sides 😉




Her right/hard side is slowly becoming asymmetric with her left side….so pleased she is finding her symmetry 😉

She did a lovely dhq’s and draw towards too, even though I was sitting down…our connection is getting really nice 😉



So lovely to have her friendship and love <3

I take her halter off while still sitting down and invite her to follow me…..




…and she followed me at Liberty beautifully….when I got back to ‘base’ I gave her a big herbal treat reward given on the ground and session over. Really lovely session 😉 🙂




Tues 17th March

Weather still on/off rain at moment but I did managed to get this slightly 2nd hand Transcend Bitless Sidecue from ebay for a great price and it fits Bella beautifully 😉












Also over the moon that the familiarisation is going really well, here they are at liberty eating thier breakfast with the rugs drying off on a big gate and being blown about, they didn’t bat an eyelid 😉






Weds 18th March

Some fun play today with Bella…managed to get her Stage 1 assessment/ground work filmed and passed.  Her video is up on her ‘Lesson Vids’. She did really well and considering she has only been with us 8 months and not overly handled or ever played with…I’m SO proud of her <3

Here’s some pics of her and Stormy….him showing her how to put 2 hooves on the pedestal while being ridden….

Stormy had Spring in his step, Bella followed me around at Liberty and we had a lovely play day with them both 😉











Here is a short video of Bella giving it some wellie going back to where Stormy is….



Thurs 19th March

Today I managed to get my riding boots back on and do Bella’s Stage 1 ridden video. I haven’t ridden her for 4 months since my heel operation and yes my heel is sore from riding today but it was so worth it. She did very well with the assessment tasks and the video of it will be with her ground work one from yesterday in the folder ‘Bella’s Lesson vids’ 🙂

Pics: Stormy having fun at Liberty with Mark and an Agility course and Bella all saddled up for me to ride today…








Some pics from the video of Bella passing her Stage 1 riding assessment….



Fri 20th March

Today we played with yesterday’s agility obstacles but challenged ourselves to doing something completely different with each one 😉 lots of fun and was joyous to see how relaxed Bella was with all the changes and also how well she coped with it all 🙂


< Sideways through wide gap

Fig 8’s with two cones on opposite sides of my weave circle >




< Step over tall pipe, front legs only and halt

Rest a light weight jump pole on side >




< Individual feet over pole…she did all 4 then backed up

First time putting one foot on the smaller tyre pedestal >



< Trot circles with me standing on pedestal

Sidepassing over pole length wise >




< Fig 8’s around 3 obstacles, changing obstacle each time

Half circles in trot through gap >



THEN….we did some more riding after yesterdays good start. She had slightly sticky feet today but she is just learning stuff so I just took my time and made sure we worked with relaxation and consistency. In the end she did a nice circle around the inside of the round pen in walk both ways, nice backup, LF and DHQ both ways and turns. I also dismounted on the right side today.  We left it on a very good forward motion note and left it at that. Good, short sessions will give her the confidence to repeat and progress each time 😉













Sun 22nd March

What a beautiful sunny day today, bit chilly with the breeze but I’ll take sun any day, really cheers you up doesn’t it. Today Ms Bella did some fab play, we took fig 8’s and did them ‘on the move’, she did a nice jump, followed a tarp that Mark was dragging behind Stormy whilst riding AND she let me put three feet on the ped and didn’t take it off for ages. Here’s some pics of our play….
























We then had a very nice ridden session (3rd one in a row) with her doing 1 lap to the left and right around the inside of the round pen, backups, LF and DHQ’s and it is great to be able to use a looser rein now with her, think it’s helping her forward motion as it’s the same slackness I use when doing S2M on the ground. I dismounted on the right again too. I’m doing short sessions but trying to be consistent and stopping on a good note. I will slowly increase the time we walk the arena and take it up to trot when it feels right to do so.














Wed 25th March

Have had two days off play/riding as had to do other things but today we were out playing and riding again. The weather is mild and enjoyable and I first put up our next Agility course (#7) and we had our first practise session with it. The course runs like this: trot over pole square, one foot on medium pedestal, sidepass both ways around large pedestal with me standing on it, four feet in two hulahoops, under the curtain, moving fig 8’s in trot x 3, under archway, w/h/w through bunting lane, over pole with ff and halt, walk off then trot to pole square again and halt in centre 🙂

Bella did pretty well, fab with fig 8’s, under the arch, putting one foot on ped, through bunting lane and transitions, pretty good try at hulahoop task but really not happy putting her ears through the curtain, once her ears were under it then she didn’t worry about it at all SO we need to work on a couple of things so that when we film it next time it’s smooth and flowing 😉

After a good play session we rode in the round pen again. Today we managed backup, DHQ-LF both sides, DHQ-fh forward motion twice around the roundpen on both sides and also a nice right turn to COD and dismount on right again. Really pleased with our progress, think she’s really getting it now.


< My heel is slowly getting better and I’m able to use it in the stirrups ok now.

She’s very good at standing still once I’ve mounted and doing up the girth >



< backup from the mounting block…really nice back up.

Loose rein riding more now, focus, energy and leaving her alone when all ok >



< Loose rein, moving about in the saddle, moving my arms about, she’s great.

Right hand turn…eyes focus, inside shoulder back, belly button focus, outside leg on and open right rein >


< Right turn >




< Enjoying ourselves, Bella’s walk getting more forward each time we practise 😉

Dismouting on the right side >



< Lots of treats for such a good girl


Ground tying going really well and today I put my rope on the saddle for her to carry it for me…no problem 😉




  • Shelley – HorseSavvy





Sun 29th March

The weather is totally on/off rain/hail/sun/wind this month so we’ve had a few days off but managed to sneak out before it got rainy again this afternoon.  We started by giving them both a good ‘de-moulting’ groom and then I played with Bella on the 22′ line. Today I decided to just play around my ‘tyre’ round pen as the 8 tyre barrels are good for quite a few games in trot.



< Leading the two beauties

Back up and draw on the 22′ line >




< Circling in walk and trot both ways with me sitting down >





< Rope spins

And a FIRST for Bella, today we started doing some leg yields on a circle….me on the left easier than me on the right (for her) >



< leg yielding >





< Weaving in trot and at a distance

Fig 8’s on the whole 22′ line 😉 >




After a lovely play session I rode her in the round pen again. All getting better, easier mounting for me, she stands still beautifully, backup great, LF getting softer and DHQ getting better. We managed 2 laps both ways which was good then it started getting windy again so I called it a day as getting quite cold.


Tues 31st March

Last day of March, beginning of Spring and am enjoying playing and riding Ms Bella. Today we did a video ‘Training Tip’ for the start of asking Bella to lower her head for bridling AND with another video of a fab TARP CHALLENGE that friend Kat gave us (and put on my HS FB group for some fun). After that playing about I filmed Mark doing his Tarp Challenge with Stormy at Liberty and when I looked around this is what sweet Bella did….


All on her own she investigated the pedestal

Then she gently stepped up on it




And THEN she turned her head to look at me as if to say..’is this right mom?’…

what a sweetheart, she stayed there for ages and I went over and gave her a treat for a fabulous effort and imagination 😉



She did the Tarp Challenge amazingly. Up until now she’s only just got used to walking and trotting over it but our relationship has come along in leaps and bounds recently so doing other things with the tarp was fun, she did all that I asked and I was over the moon with her effort, understanding and relaxation 😉


After all that fun we had a nice wee ride around the round pen….


< Ground tying is going really well

Standing still at the mounting block fab >





< Walking out going really well, she sometimes stops but is easy to get going again. LF, DHQ all working well, working on more lightness but that comes with time and patience >




< Turns going well, still using reins at moment but building it to where she will understand my focus/weight/leg cues as we go

Dismounting from the right fabulous >



< Ground tying whilst I put stirrups back up and loosen her girth

Love when my babies follow me after a session at liberty >




  • Shelley – HorseSavvy